Pregnancy throws up all kinds of weird in your body.
The linea nigra is one such phenomenon.
But rather than feel urgh about your pregnancy line, why not take this as an opportunity to fall a little more deeply in love with that body of yours and all it’s able to accomplish?
In this article: 📝
- What is a linea nigra?
- When does linea nigra appear?
- What causes linea nigra?
- Does the linea nigra tell you baby’s sex?
- Can you get linea nigra without being pregnant?
- Does everyone get a linea nigra?
- How do you get rid of linea nigra?
- How long until linea nigra goes away?
What is a linea nigra?
The linea nigra is the so-called “pregnancy line” located on the stomach, and it comes in the form of a vertical dark line on the belly during pregnancy.
It’s the result of this hyper-pigmentation that might just be happening in all sorts of fun places on your body, not just a pregnancy line on the stomach.
Where do you find this magical pregnancy line?
Well, linea nigra is a dark line on the belly during pregnancy, running vertically somewhere near your belly button to your pelvis, and is roughly 0.4 inches wide.
This, like all the other glorious bodily markings that life experience gives us (think: cellulite dimples, scars, stretch marks, laugh lines), is a painting on our canvas—and what a job life is doing at creating this artwork.
Not sure what a linea nigra will look like on your body type or skin tone? We’ve got you covered:
So let’s take a little look at where the famous linea nigra comes from and when you might expect it to make an appearance if it hasn’t done so already.
Linea nigra pronunciation
Before we get started, a quick word on the linea nigra pronunciation, in case you were wondering.
It’s pronounced “lin-ee-uh nee-gruh” or “li-nay-uh nee-gruh”.
When does linea nigra appear?
If it’s going to. Sometimes it doesn’t appear at all.
And you know what? If you get a pregnancy line, that’s exactly what you’re supposed to have.
If you don’t, that’s exactly right too.
The linea nigra is typically nothing to worry about, but if you feel as though anything is not happening the way it should, it’s always a good idea to check in with your doctor.
What week does linea nigra appear?
Every pregnancy is a different story, a different journey, and a different body, so there is no single answer to when does a linea nigra appear.
Early pregnancy line on stomach
What if you notice a linea nigra in early pregnancy?
Or, if not a linea nigra, then a whiter version of the pregnancy line (known as a linea alba).
You might notice this paler pregnancy line in early pregnancy, which may get darker until it resembles a linea nigra.
Generally speaking, if you’re a mama-to-be of multiples, you might notice many pregnancy symptoms happening sooner (or bigger).
Your pregnancy line on your stomach may also appear sooner if you’ve already been pregnant before.
Your body is like “I know what’s next”, and gets your beautiful pregnancy body transformation started a little sooner.
Will linea nigra go away?
In most cases, the pregnancy line will just disappear like nothing ever happened—so take lots of pictures!
When your baby arrives on the scene, your linea nigra will usually fade after a few months.
What causes linea nigra?
Now that’s an interesting one—and may not be as cut-and-dry as you’d think.
Let’s get back to that hyperpigmentation that may feel like it’s happening on every inch of your body.
Nipples, face, belly—nothing seems exempt.
One of the craziest things is that the line that darkens has actually been there the whole time!
In other less obvious times, it is referred to as the linea alba—a white-ish line that almost perfectly bisects the body.
It’s only when hyperpigmentation occurs that the line typically makes a more dramatic appearance on the stage.
Does the linea nigra tell you baby’s sex?
If your pregnancy line goes above your belly button, congrats— it’s a boy.
Got a linea nigra below your belly button? You guessed it—a girl will be bursting onto your scene.
But this is just a bit of pregnancy fun—there are lots of old wives’ tales about the sex of your baby that don’t really have any scientific evidence to support them.
Can you get linea nigra without being pregnant?
If you have a linea nigra when not pregnant, don’t worry, it’s still perfectly normal.
It’s not only pregnant women that get the so-called pregnancy line.
Regardless of gender, age, and the existence of a living, breathing, growing peanut inside your belly, the famous linea nigra shows up when it’s good and ready to do so.
So, yup, linea nigra, not pregnant has been known to happen—it’s versatile like that.
So, if it’s not just a symptom of pregnancy, what on earth is causing this magical pregnancy line to form?
We’ll give you one guess. Yup—hormones appear to be claiming responsibility for a linea nigra without pregnancy, too.
Which hormones would those be exactly?
They work to stimulate cells called melanocytes.
These then go on to produce melanin and, in doing so, make your skin darker, resulting in a linea nigra when not pregnant.
Can PCOS cause linea nigra?
Yes, PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) can cause a linea nigra when not pregnant.
Does everyone get a linea nigra?
No, not everyone has a pregnancy line on their stomach.
As it’s mainly down to hormones, and they can fluctuate pretty erratically, especially during pregnancy, there’s no guarantee that you’ll have a linea nigra during pregnancy.
However, a linea nigra is more prevalent in people with dark skin when compared to people with fairer skin.
It might be that your linea nigra isn’t as easy to see on fairer skin than on darker skin or that you simply don’t have one due to the different distributions of melanocytes—it’s more visually intense on darker skin— either way, science still isn’t sure!
When it comes to a pregnancy line on your belly, it’s pretty much luck of the draw.
How common is linea nigra?
Well, it’s hard to say, as there haven’t been many reliable studies or surveys carried out.
During pregnancy, many changes can happen with your skin.
In fact, up to 90% of pregnant mamas report hyperpigmentation throughout their body due to an increase in melanin deposits.
What happens if you don’t have a linea nigra?
Worried that you have no linea nigra during pregnancy?
Rest assured that having no linea nigra isn’t a sign that there’s anything “wrong” in your pregnancy.
As we said, it’s down to luck of the draw, or you may not even notice it.
Is pregnancy possible without linea nigra?
Yes, it is possible to have a full-term, healthy pregnancy with no linea nigra.
A pregnancy line on the stomach isn’t an indicator of yours or baby’s health.
Add it to the list of ‘random things that happen to your body during pregnancy’.
How do you get rid of linea nigra?
Okay. This might not be what you want to hear, but maybe the answer is: absolutely nothing.
Your linea nigra will typically fade with time.
But if you’re really not keen on your new temporary body art, that’s completely valid, too.
While there’s very little that can make the linea nigra go away in an instant, there are some steps you can take:
- Apply sunscreen every day (you should do this outside of pregnancy, too).
- Try to stay out of the sun. Any tan on that baby bump and that pregnancy line is going to scream even louder for attention.
- If you’re in the sun a lot, some sort of cover-up is probably a good idea.
- Try a retinol serum or cream after giving birth (retinol isn’t safe to use when pregnant).
- Apply diluted lemon juice to your linea nigra, as a sort of natural bleach.
Then, of course, if you’re feeling creative, you can do wonders with a bit of make-up.
So, if you have a pregnant belly photo shoot coming up and you’re not too keen to show off your linea nigra, a little foundation can go a long way.
If you’re curious about using bleaching creams to get rid of linea nigra, it’s best to avoid them completely—they contain hydroquinone which can be harmful to your baby.
Not just in pregnancy but in general, bleaching creams are generally not safe for use on your skin.
How long until linea nigra goes away?
Sure, it’s a nice addition to your body for now, but it’s perfectly normal to wonder when does linea nigra go away.
Well, it depends on your body. We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: every body is different.
But, generally speaking, your pregnancy line should disappear a few months after baby’s been born.
So, while it’s around, maybe consider wearing it with pride.
It’s a visceral sign that you’re growing into a whole new person! What could be more beautiful?
Or tell us to shut up.
Because the last thing you need right now is another opinion on how to do your pregnancy.
You do you. We’ll think you’re beautiful while doing so.
If you’re after other mamas’ experiences of a pregnancy line, or you want to ask someone when did your linea nigra appear?, join our community of mamas and mamas-to-be on Peanut.
We think you’ll fit right in.